Since suspending his campaign, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken heat for firing a number of campaign staffers he had promised would have jobs until November — even if he didn’t win the nomination. People who were enticed to work for Bloomberg’s campaign with generous salaries and benefits, who expected steady income for a year, are suddenly and unexpectedly without a job in the middle of a deadly pandemic and crippling economic downturn.
But the insults don’t stop there. According to Politico’s Alex Thompson, a number of dismissed staffers couldn’t help but notice their final paychecks were significantly lower than they expected. The reason is that the phones and computers Bloomberg bought for their work were counted as extra income — and the staffers were stuck with the taxes.
New: Bloomberg HR sends email to staffers explaining why their recent paychecks were lower. In short: b/c phones and computers they offered to keep we treated as extra income and taxed as such). @ccadelago & @SallyGold had some on this earlier this mo https://t.co/4eWCV0Trip pic.twitter.com/ltVpTxxP99
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) April 1, 2020
Bloomberg’s campaign is emphasizing that staffers who do not want to keep the electronics can return them to the campaign by the end of this week, in which case the extra taxes will be refunded. Nevertheless, some staffers are angry and feel the campaign didn’t communicate this well.
“The blowback is because we were never told our last checks would be taxed (for me, I lost $800+!) before they did it. If they told us that, people would have been a little more stringent about opting out of taking them,” one staffer told Thompson. “The issue is not that we didn’t know we’d get taxed. We knew we were getting taxed. The issue is that they made it seem like it would come at the end of the year, almost like a 1099 extra income that we’d pay taxes on then, not a hit on our last checks.”
After a meteoric rise thanks to his eye-catching ads and nationwide advertising blitz, Bloomberg’s campaign flamed out after a poor showing on Super Tuesday. Bloomberg has pledged to support the eventual Democratic nominee, but it is unclear whether he will commit the same level of resources he would have to his own campaign.